Poll: Latinos eyeing third parties, not Trump

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Latino voters disenchanted with the two-party system are more likely to consider support for a third party ticket than a full left-to-right swing, according to a new poll to be released by Voto Latino on Monday.

According to preliminary poll results reviewed by The Hill, President Biden maintains 2020-like leads among Latino voters in swing states over former President Trump, but younger and female Hispanic voters are increasingly open to vote for third-party candidates like Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

“If you were to look at where Latinos are in battleground states, 59 percent of them are voting for Biden and 39 percent of them are voting for Trump,” said María Teresa Kumar, CEO of Voto Latino, the group that conducted the poll of 2,000 Latino voters.

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“And our poll asked the thornier question, if we open up …  including a third party, how does that poll? What we found was really alarming, in the sense that 14 percent of them would vote for a third party, with a majority of the votes being taken away from Biden. So instead of being at 59 percent, he dropped down to 49 percent. And Trump fell only five points.”

Kumar on Monday will present the full results of the poll, which follows large surveys of Latino voters conducted by Voto Latino in previous election cycles.

Kumar said that despite massive coverage of a potential rightward move by young Latino men, her group is more concerned with third-party openness among Latinas driven by economic concerns.

“The second thing that was really surprising was that it was a defection not of Latino men going third party, but of Latinas going third party, who espouse socio economic social justice issues,” said Kumar.

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“So again, the headline saying that Latinos are trending Republican isn’t very new – it didn’t bear out in 2022, when we did that massive poll of 5,000 Latino voters in key battleground states, and it didn’t bear out last week in the poll that we did of 2,000 Latino voters in five battleground states. What we’re finding is as more of a disillusionment because the economy is not changing fast enough for them to basically make ends meet, which is a real, which is a real challenge.”

According to Kumar, Voto Latino plans to raise and spend $44 million this cycle to reach Hispanics in their communities to make sure they vote.

The 2024 effort, Kumar said, will be substantially different from the group’s $36 million effort in 2020, when the pandemic forced much of the campaign into the digital realm.

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Kumar’s pitch to Voto Latino’s core constituency – young Hispanic voters – this year is that sitting the election out  will disproportionately affect the Hispanic community.

“You know, this idea that Trump is gonna come into office and overthrow democracy on day one, he won’t. But I am confident that what he will do is make America a democracy on paper more akin to Latin America than anything else we’ve seen. And in that, only a few thrive,” said Kumar.

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